Starting a Club
There are only tens of millions of active clubs in the United States. There are as many clubs as there are mutual interests among people. There are clubs for communication, advocacy, awareness raising, school activities, volunteering, information sharing, sports, professional development, religion, cultural, financial, etc. While the variety of clubs is almost endless, create and manage them. Many ideas for clubs can never start or never get out of the ground because some common mistakes are made – mistakes are made literally millions of times. Although there are not two clubs the same, we encapsulate many of the best tips and tricks for starting a club in this publication – so you can learn from the backs of others to create your own successful club.
Realize that engaging in time is always more than you think The excitement and fun of the idea of starting a club is always closely followed by the reality of the effort you will take to succeed. Just like in business or in any other venture, a great idea works as long as it can be done well. Who wants to create an unsuccessful club no matter how big a idea? In almost every club, leaders, organizers and key players must "donate" their free time and effort to make the club fulfill its mission. The limited time, the limited resources, the immense resistance of inertia to make people take action are just some of the big reasons why clubs end up failing. Of course, clubs are often launched because of strong interest, so you need to take advantage of a strong level of interest in successful group action.
Define the Mission and the Goal for the Club
Most eyes shrink when they hear they have to make a statement about a mission. Many have participated in corporate exercises to create a mission in which you often end up with a bunch of free words that have no real meaning, and each one of them. Often people "feel" that they know what the mission is, but when they try to formulate it, they can not. This does not mean that a group can not be successful without a mission statement – although in achieving the goals you can help clarify in your mind what the long-term goal is and help others communicate this to you. Your mission may be to achieve a political agenda or raise awareness about the environment, or perhaps simply socialize and find future dates – perhaps all of these things – whatever, the more clearly the vision is formulated, You direct your efforts to achieving this vision.
Create the Structure You Need
Some groups are so well organized that they create employees, create a constitution, even create processes for amending the constitution and nominating, selecting and removing employees. These types of processes are useful, even critical, when a group is scaled – otherwise anarchy occurs. However, most groups do not necessarily need mini-government. Many of the groups start with some lighter processes:
Officers: usually there is a president, a vice president (commander and often a leader of several important initiatives), a treasurer (who manages the funds), a secretary (who takes care of meetings, next steps, etc.). Depending on the needs of your group, you can also create a public officer, webmaster, historian, etc. It is very useful to define the roles, especially who has the right to decide what. For example, some groups will require the treasurer to sign any checks with the president. This has a check and balance in the money group.
If you're serious enough, you might consider engaging attentimes as a non-governmental organization. Inclusion has many advantages such as limiting the responsibility of members for their duties and responsibilities. Establishment also provides increased levels of "perseverance" and can help with funding.
Meetings: Usually a periodic meeting or event helps keep things in the group and increase activity. It is also a great way for group members to participate in events and get to know each other better and share information. If you hold meetings, pay close attention to how meetings are held leading to the next section.
Run Effective Meetings
Badly holding meetings reflects the leaders poorly and is a big waste of time for the participants. While there are whole books written for successful meetings, there are a few tips to make sure you make the most of every meeting you receive. First, define and publish an agenda. The meeting must have some purpose and it may be necessary to prepare the participants in advance. Very few meetings require surprise to be effective. The agenda also helps you stay away from the course. Many groups have people who want to express their opinion – leading everyone down the proverbial "fool." The agenda helps you to make sure that the meeting is a good place to solve these problems or if you need to put it in another meeting. Always have the desired result for the meeting (eg, agree on a specific initiative, or reflect on and come up with 3 ideas for events next year). You will often be surprised how much better you have prepared for a meeting by simply thinking about what kind of solution or outcome you want from the meeting. Understand who should be there and what the roles are for the participants. Start the meeting earlier.
Many groups have a secretary who follows the "protocol" of the meeting – what has been discussed, and in particular any conclusion that has been made and all the elements that need to be put forward for future discussion. This can be published so that there is a historical archive so that members can always come back and watch what has happened.
When you finish the meeting, make sure you've captured what "action items" are. What is the next step – who does what and when and who is responsible for tracking. It is often useful to take a few minutes to plan the next meeting.
Many groups start with an initial meeting to discuss the club and how it will work. That should be your first date. Funding and Budget
Most clubs have to spend money to carry out activities, print flyers, lecture, and so on. In order to spend the money, the club has to get money, ways to finance the club's activities. Funding can be made by members themselves through membership fees, business fees, contributions. Funding can also be achieved through a variety of fundraising activities, such as selling baking, garage sales, car wash.
Many corporations and state institutions finance and sponsor groups. Grant applications can be filled in to see if you are eligible for funding of this type. Not all finances should be money. For example, some companies can provide equipment or venues for an event or practice. They may ask for some form of sponsorship, such as a banner shown at an event.
In addition, you can contact national, state and regional chapters of similar interest groups. They can be good sources of funding yourself or give you valuable insights on how to improve your club's performance.
Take the nuts and bolts down
Each club has a basic set of operations that help it work more efficiently. There is nothing more disappointing for leaders and members to be in a poorly managed group. Membership and, more importantly, participation will begin to change as a result. Here are some basic things:
- Get an updated list. It is important to know who is in the group, how to reach them and what roles they play, what their membership status, and so on. There are some electronic and web tools to help you, such as spreadsheets, word processing documents, and more.
- Get a set of email lists. Communicating with the group is important and you can do it easily without having to enter 50 emails each time it will save you a lot of time. Getting a list of self-managed email groups will save you countless hours.
- Create a website. The website is important for sending messages not only to the group but also to the wider community. This is a great way to let people know what's happening (future events, how to get involved, etc.), what are the achievements of the group so you can strengthen relationships within the group as well as recruit more members. Again, try to stay away from solutions that require the webmaster to make every change. You may not have a webmaster in the group and you do not want to hinder all your activities through one person. Was it worth it? Being a part of the clubs is an important part of everyday life. Creating clubs requires effort, but payout is clear. As an organizer, you might think that this is a flawless job, but keep in mind that people will not join or participate if they do not see value in it.
I hope these tips help you create the best possible clubs. In the next section, we'll look at how to manage clubs – a different "beast" to manage.
There are many other good practices there. If you have ideas and suggestions for starting clubs, please post comments – we love to hear them and give them access to all other club organizers who take the time to follow their passions.